Troy Davis has been awaiting the death penalty since his conviction for murder in 1991.
There was never any physical evidence linking him to the crime, and no murder weapon was found. He was convicted largely on the basis of eyewitness testimony.
Of the nine non-police eyewitnesses who testified against Troy, seven have since taken it back, alleging police coercion and intimidation.
Still, he’s due to be killed in three days’ time.
This is all happening in Georgia. Meanwhile, Rick Perry’s home state of Texas is the place with the highest rate of criminal exoneration based on DNA testing in the country. Perry presides over one of the most thorough and persuasive bodies of empirical evidence that eyewitness testimony is dangerously unreliable and is sending innocent people to prison or to their deaths.
He’s not interested. It’s something he’s “never struggled with“. Nor, it seems, have the judiciary in the state of Georgia.
The attitude that develops among Perry and others in charge of states that mandate the death penalty seems to run something like this:
“The state has the right to murder people it deems guilty of unacceptable crimes; we’re going to take pride in these people’s deaths; and we’re going to deliberately forego procedures which are known to uncover mistakes in the system, and which would almost certainly demonstrate the innocence of men and women whose lives we intend to take.”
I’m not getting into the sticky theological issue today of exactly what “evil” is, but I’d say that’s a pretty good start.